Group - Two or more persons perceived as related because of their interactions with each other over time, membership in the same social category, or common fate.

Stereotype - a belief that associates a group of people with certain traits.

Prejudice - negative feelings toward persons based on their membership in certain groups. Discrimination - negative behavior directed against persons because of their membership in a particular group.


  • How stereotypes form: Two processes:

о 1) categorization; we sort people into groups.

о 2) we perceive groups in which we belong ( ingroups ) as being different from groups in which we do not belong ( outgroups ).

  • Processes are influenced by sociocultural and motivational factors, as well as by differences in individuals' theories about groups.

Social Categorization:

  • ~ the classification of persons into groups on the basis of common attributes.

Ingroups versus Outgroups:

  • Ingroups - groups with which an individual feels a sense of membership, belonging, and identity.
  • Outgroups - groups with which an individual does not feel a sense of membership belonging, or identity.
  • Outgroup homogenity effect - the tendency to assume that there is a greater similarity among members of outgroups than among members of ingroups.

о Two reasons:

  • 1) We often do not notice subtle differences among outgroups because we have little personal contact with them.
  • 2) People often do not encounter a representative sample of outgroup members.

Sociocultural and Motivational Factors:

  • Cultures differ in what categorization they emphasize and how they make ingroup-outgroup distinctions. Motivational factors also affect how people categorize others.

Implicit Personality Theories About Groups:

  • Entity theorists - people who tend to see social groups as relatively fixed, static entities and the borders between groups as relatively clear and rigid.
  • Incremental theorists - people who tend to see social groups as relatively dynamic and changeable, with less consistency within groups and more malleability between groups.

How Stereotypes Survive and Self-Perpetuate:

  • They offer us quick and convenient summaries of social groups.
  • They often cause us to overlook the diversity within categories and form mistaken impressions of specific individuals.

Illusory Correlations:

  • ~ an overestimate of the association between variables that are only slightly or not at all correlated. Causes are the overestimation from correlations by:
  • distinctive variables - e.g. in a small group is a negative behavior more outstanding and become faster connected to the hole group in contrast to big groups
  • expected variables - e.g. by random word combination “lion-tiger” word combination are more reported than “lion-egg” combination although there are not more often

Subtyping and Contras Effects:

  • Subtyping - admitting exceptions -> make it possible to keep prejudgments

o Gordon Allport: “There is a common mental device that permits people to hold prejudgments even in the face of much contradictory evidence.”

  • Contrast effect - E xception is more extreme perceived than they are (e.g. business woman more ambitious/assertive than comparable man)

Is Stereotyping Inevitable? Automatic Versus Intentional Processes:

Factors to overcome stereotypes:

  1. Amount personal information we have about someone -> individual information more important than stereotypes
  2. Cognitive ability to focus on an individual of stereotyped group (e.g. a drunken man is more influenced by stereotypes)
  3. Motivation to form an accurate impression of someone


  • ~ one's negative feelings toward people based on their membership group.

Intergroup Conflicts:

Robbers Cave: Setting the Stage:

  • Superordinate goals - shared goals that can be achieved only through cooperation among individuals or groups.

Realistic Conflict Theory:

  • ~ the theory that hostility between groups is caused by direct competition for limited resources.
  • Relative deprivation - feelings of discontent aroused by the belief that one fares poorly compared with others.

Social Identity Theory:

  • Ingroup favoritism - the tendency to discriminate in favor of ingroups over outgroups.
  • Social identity theory - the theory that people favor ingroups over outgroups in order to enhance their self-esteem.


Basic Predictions:

  • Two basic predictions arise from social identity theory:

о 1) threats to one's self-esteem heighten the need for ingroup favoritism. о 2) expressions of ingroup favoritism enhance one's self-esteem.

Reaction to Low Status:

  • “If an ingroup is relatively low in status in a particular domain (such as academics), ingroup members may de-emphasize the importance of this domain and instead invest their self-esteem in domains for which their ingroups have higher status (such as popularity).”

Implicit Theories and Ideologies:

  • Seeing groups as fixed entities promotes the exaggeration of intragroup similarity and intergroup differences, makes people more anxious about accepting outsiders into one's ingroup, and creates a greater tendency for ingroup favoritism.
  • Social dominance orientation - a desire to see one's ingroups as dominant over other groups and a willingness to adopt cultural values that facilitate oppression over other groups.
  • People who tend to endorse and legitimize existing social arrangements can show signs of outgroup favoritism when their group holds a relatively disadvantaged position in society.


  • ~ prejudice and discrimination based on a person's gender.

Why Do Gender Stereotypes Endure?:

  • Gender stereotypes often based on a kernel of truth, but they tend to oversimplify and exaggerate that truth.
  • Mechanisms: illusory correlations, biased attributions, confirmation biases, and self-fulfilling prophecies.
  • Gender stereotypes are distinct from virtually all other stereotypes in that they are predescriptive rather than merely descriptive; that is, they indicate what the majority of people in a given culture believe men and women should
  • Stereotypic media images support remaining gender stereotypes.
  • Social Role theory - a theory that small gender differences are magnified in perception by contrasting social roles occupied by men and women.


Sex Discrimination: A Double Standard?:

  • “There are some striking sex differences in occupational choices.
  • Men and Women are judged more favorably when they apply for jobs that are consistent with gender stereotypes.
  • Women often face a difficult dilemma: If they behave consistently with gender stereotypes, they may be liked more but respect less.”

Ambivalent Sexism:

  • ~ a form of sexism characterized by attitudes about women that reflect both negative, resentful beliefs (hostile sexism) and feelings and affectionate, chivalrous, but potentially patronizing beliefs and feelings (benevolent sexism).


  • ~ prejudice and discrimination based on a person's racial background.
  • Racism exist at several different levels:

о At the individual level, any of us racist toward anyone else

о At the institutional and cultural levels, some people are privileged while others are discriminated against.

Modern Racism:

  • ~ a form of prejudice that surfaces in subtle ways when it is safe, socially acceptable, and easy to rationalize.
  • Many people are racially ambivalent.
  • Individuals differ in the degree to which they exhibit underlying racist tendencies.

Implicit Racism:

  • Racism and other forms of prejudice and discrimination can operate unconsciously and unintentionally.

Interracial Perceptions and Interactions:

  • “White perceivers are more likely to perceive hostility in the facial expressions of a black person than in a white person.
  • Seeing a member of racial outgroup is associated with increased activation in the amygdala, a brain structure associated with emotion.
  • Interracial interactions can feel threatening, anxiety-provoking, and cognitively draining, particularly among people relatively high in implicit racism.”

A Threat in the Air: Effects on Stigmatized Targets:

  • stigmatized - “individuals who, by virtue of their membership in a particular social group, or by possession of particular characteristics, are devalued in society.”

Perceiving Discrimination:

  • “When members of stigmatized groups perceive others' reactions to them as discrimination, they experience both benefits to their self-esteem and feelings of control.
  • The frequency, and effects, of such perceptions depend in part on how and to what extent the target identifies with his or her stigmatized group.

Stereotype Threat and Academic Achievement:

  • “Situations that activate stereotype threat cause individuals to worry that others will see them in negative, stereotypic ways.
  • Stereotype threat can impair the intellectual performance and identity of stereotyped group members.
  • Research has documented a huge and growing list of groups whose members show underperformance and performance-impairing behaviors when a negative stereotype about their abilities is made relevant.
  • Reducing stereotype threat through slight changes in a setting can dramatically improve the performance of stereotyped group members.”

Reducing Stereotypes, Prejudice, and Discrimination:

Intergroup Contact:

  • Contact Hypothesis - the theory that direct contact between hostile groups will reduce prejudice under certain circumstances.
  • According to the contact hypothesis, four conditions must exist for contact to succed See

The Jigsaw Classroom:

  • ~ a cooperative learning method used to reduce racial prejudice through interaction in group efforts.
  • In this system, everyone - regardless of race, ability, or self-confidence - needs everyone if the group as a whole is to succeed.

Decategorization and Recategorization:

  • Decategorization leads people not only to pay less attention on categories and intergroup boundaries but also to perceive outgroup members as individuals.
  • Recategorization leads people to change their conception of groups, allowing to develop a more inclusive sense of the diversity characterizing their own ingroup.

Changing Cultures and Motivations:

  • “Changes in the kind of information perpetuated in one's culture can alter how we perceive social groups.
  • As the general culture, and local norms, change to promote values consistent with fairness and diversity and inconsistent with prejudice and discrimination, individuals' motives can change accordingly.
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